Did You Ever Have One of Those Ideas?

A novel idea attacked me yesterday and ate my brain. It’s an idea that I love, and yet it’s insane. Really. It’s one of those things where disparate things crash together and seem like they shouldn’t exist in the same universe, much less the same world, city or neighborhood. Think about something like Lost meets Heidi meets Aliens meets Gilligan’s Island. And no, that isn’t the idea that ate my brain, but it’s about that kind of a mash up.

The thing is, I love this idea. It’s odd, strange, bizarre and unexpected and I absolutely love it. So I have written it up and sent it to my agent and I hope she’ll love it, too. She may think I’m nuts, but I have faith. And that’s the thing. You have to trust your ideas and your imagination and run with it. You might fail spectacularly, but you might also come up with a truly unusual an interesting story. Look at Gail Carriger’s Soulless which is so much fun and I wish I thought of such an unusual take on the Victorian period myself. I can’t wait for the sequel.

So I’m wondering, what sort of strange and different ideas have you come up with that you love or that you ran with and did or did not work out? What wonderful stories have you read like that?

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  1. 1. Elias McClellan

    You came looking for answers and all I have is more questions. What do you do when you have that ‘idea;’ the one your willing to commit a year or so of your life to writing and it looks like a lot of other stuff out there? Not ‘Twilight,’ as I hate glowing, teenage-angsty-vampires, but similar circumstances.

    I’d love to move on to something else. But this idea won’t leave me alone.

  2. 2. Diana Pharaoh Francis

    My feeling is you write it because that’s your passion and while there are lots of stories where similar things happen, the writing of them is the difference. So write what your heart wants and write it well. Good luck!

  3. 3. Paul

    Hi Diana.

    I am not a writer but occasionally I do get ideas, inspirations for novels, stories that I will almost certainly never write (I don’t think I have the fortitude to be a writer).

    As a GM for role playing games, though, I sometimes get the darndest ideas for games and game elements in the weirdest places (while exercising for instance). I write it down, and then plan to use it at an appropriate opportunity. My imagination demands that I do so.

  4. 4. heteromeles

    Sure. I’m writing that book right now. I’ll judge the craziness if I can get someone to buy the darn thing.

  5. 5. Tom

    The idea that kicked me in the head: Fantasy about a dwarf, a three-legged dog and a one-eyed pony. Yeah, their all brothers.

  6. 6. simon@kins

    Well, Howard Waldrop is the greatest malaprop short story writer of our time. He said that you should take that idea for a novel and mull it over until it becomes a novella. Then ruminate on it a bit until it becomes a short story. Then chew on the idea till you get the essence and turn it into a short-short. Then he said forget about it and take a nap because a short-short isn’t worth the effort.

    Or one could be like Owen Wilson’s character in The Royal Tenenbaums. His charactor, an author named Eli (and not a Tenenbaum), says, “Well, everyone knows Custer died at Little Bighorn. What this book presupposes is… maybe he didn’t. “

  7. 7. Kelly McCullough

    Diana, oh yes, been there a few times. I think some of my best work has started that way.

    Elias, What Diana said. If you’ve got a passion for something, write it.


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Author Information

Diana Pharaoh Francis

Diana Pharaoh Francis has written the fantasy novel trilogy that includes Path of Fate, Path of Honor and Path of Blood. Path of Fate was nominated for the Mary Roberts Rinehart Award. Recently released was The Turning Tide, third in her Crosspointe Chronicles series (look also for The Cipher and The Black Ship). In October 2009, look for Bitter Night, a contemporary fantasy. Diana teaches in the English Department at the University of Montana Western, and is an avid lover of all things chocolate. Visit site.



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